With exceptional institutional support
CCA is ranked as the top art school in the nation for best return on investment. But what can you expect when it comes time to actually make that investment? A college committed to helping you succeed.
We have a dedicated Financial Aid office that helps students discover and learn how to apply for financial aid; we provide internship connections, career development, and student employment; and we invest in student futures by awarding more than $28.8 million in college-funded scholarships each year.
The financial aid process varies based on your circumstances. Nearly 79% of our students receive some form of financial aid, and the average amount of combined scholarships and grants a CCA undergraduate student receives is $26,642. Here are the major types of aid and who is eligible for each:
- Scholarships: First-year freshmen, transfer, international, continuing, and graduate students
- Grants: First-year freshmen, transfer, continuing, and graduate students
- Work-Study: First-year freshmen, transfer, continuing, and graduate students
- Loans: First-year freshmen, transfer, international (for non-federal loans), continuing, and graduate students
Upcoming FAFSA deadlines
DACA, Dreamer, or undocumented students who are California residents should fill out the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) instead of a FAFSA form. The CADAA does not require a social security number.
- February 1: Undergraduate and graduate priority deadline for fall admission
- March 2: Undergraduate deadline for the California State Grant Program
We offer guidance throughout the entire process
Reach out to us with any questions along the way, from how to get a scholarship or what is FAFSA, to when to submit required forms or understand a financial aid offer letter.
We have a robust scholarship offering that recognizes talented students in both our graduate and undergraduate programs. With an average financial aid offer of $30,706, part of which is provided by scholarships, full-time undergraduates can meet 59% of their financial need.
There are five types of institutional scholarships you may be eligible for:
- Visionary Practice Scholarship
- CCA-named scholarships
- All-college honors
Scholarship assistance can come from sources beyond CCA. Search BigFuture's (College Board) Scholarship Directory for domestic and international opportunities that offer scholarships for students.
CCA has partnered with RaiseMe to offer U.S. high school students the opportunity to earn micro-scholarships for their academic and personal achievements throughout high school.
Students create a Raise.Me profile and fill it out with achievements such as receiving good grades, participating in extracurricular activities, meeting CCA at a National Portfolio Day, or visiting campus. For example, with Raise.Me, good grades add up: each A on a report card from a high school art class would earn $200 toward your CCA education! Students can submit samples of portfolio work for review through the Raise.Me platform for feedback ahead of applying, and earn $500 toward their micro-scholarship total.
The associated micro-scholarship earnings for each accomplishment are instantly displayed in the RaiseMe profile as you achieve more along your path to college. The total represents the minimum amount of merit scholarship a student would receive from CCA when they apply and enroll. The amount listed in the Raise.Me profile would be included as a merit scholarship within the total represented in your financial aid offer letter upon offer of admission.
Students can participate to earn up to $7,000 in scholarship credit from CCA per year by creating a free profile and connecting to CCA at raise.me/join/cca.
High school seniors must register for RaiseMe and enter their high school achievements by November 1 to be eligible for scholarship earnings.
Grants don’t need to be repaid or earned
In combination with scholarships, grants can contribute greatly to financial aid because these funds don’t need to be paid back. During 2022-2023, CCA disbursed $24.9 million to undergraduate students in combined scholarship and grant funding. There are three types of grants that students most commonly use at CCA:
Cal Grant key dates
Eligible California residents should apply for these state financial aid program resources by these deadlines. Steps to apply can be found at the California Student Aid Commission’s website.
What is work-study?
Work-study programs provide part-time employment for undergraduate, graduate, part-time, and full-time students who demonstrate financial need. These positions empower students to begin paying educational expenses in real time.
At CCA, we offer two types of work-study programs—federal and institutional. The financial aid offer letter we mail following your offer of admission will provide information regarding whether a student is a recipient of work-study funds.
Federal work-study funds are offered on the basis of need to eligible undergraduate and graduate students applying for financial aid through the FAFSA. CCA students were awarded more than $300,000 in federal work-study funds in 2022-2023.
A federal work-study offer gives recipients priority status in securing a part-time job on campus. As part of the federal work-study program, these jobs emphasize employment in work related to their course of study or community service, which means FWS students can earn financial resources as well as professional leadership skills.
Institutional work-study funds are offered to undergraduate and graduate students who may or may not have financial need and don’t qualify for FWS funding. These students are selected based on their FAFSA application, merit, and commitment to community.
On- and off-campus employment
During the 2022–2023 school year, undergraduate students working on campus earned an average of just over $3,800 in federal work-study. These jobs, such as Marketing Digital Media Assistant, Studio Assistant, or Facilities Assistant, also deepen the student’s experience on campus and connect them to professionals and peers they might not meet otherwise.
In addition to work-study programs, our graduate students can find on-campus work in CCA’s graduate teaching assistantship program, which offers meaningful, sustained, and practical teaching experience.
There are many resources that all students, regardless of their work-study status, are encouraged to use as they look for employment while in school. Our Career Development office and Center for Art and Public Life are heavily networked with businesses and industries in the Bay Area that hire and hone student talent. Plus, the private CCA Handshake Job Board lists nearby job and internship openings that you can take advantage of while in school.
Apply for federal loans through FAFSA
Loans are different from grants and scholarships because the money borrowed through a loan must be paid back with interest. Federal loans are provided by the United States Department of Education and are one of the many ways to fund your education and potentially qualify for on-campus federal work-study.
To apply for federal loans, you’ll need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and include CCA's federal school code 001127. Plan to submit your FAFSA every year you enroll in college, because your financial circumstances may have changed and, thus, your financial aid offer could too.
If you are admitted to CCA and have submitted your FAFSA including CCA's school code, you’ll receive a financial aid offer letter in the mail that outlines your financial aid offer based on the information we received from your FAFSA. From there, you’re allowed to accept, decline, or petition what you’ve been offered in federal student aid.
FAFSA key dates
Below are important deadlines for submitting a FAFSA. Graduate and undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens need to do this in order to be considered for federal financial aid (including loans and grants) as well as work-study and several types of institutional scholarships. Find the FAFSA form and steps to apply on the Federal Student Aid website from the U.S. Department of Education.
Types of loan programs
When you take out a loan, you’re taking on a big financial commitment. With that in mind, our financial aid office provides students with loan counseling after attendance to help assist in responsible repayment. The rate of our students defaulting on student loan payments within three years of graduating is consistently only around 5%.
Here are some of the federal educational loan programs our students frequently leverage to help finance their degrees. They’re only available for U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens.
Financial aid forms and petitions
We understand that financing a college education can be challenging in any economic environment. We’re committed to helping you throughout the financial aid process, including petition requests and reviews. Please view financial aid forms for more information about the following types of petitions:
- Financial aid award
- Estimated annual income
- Dependency status override
- Allowable budget additions
Loan repayment information and resources
After attending CCA, you can access additional loan and loan repayment counseling from our Financial Aid counselors.
Note: Important rights and responsibilities are updated annually in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.